Everyone has a different standing when it comes to this particular subject, and mine may well be one that is quite contrary to the norm. The truth is, it has literally been conditioned into it for the last 7 years! So, don’t blame me ; blame the system!
In primary school, even the hint of a lingering handshake would be treated as an abomination that could only be rectified by the swing of a cane! It was kind of a ritual that at the beginning of the term, all those suspected of ‘coupling’ (in our defense, we were kids so ‘coupling’ was our language …I don’t know what the teachers’ excuse was). Anyway hugging was completely out of the question. In fact, I remember the one and only time I hugged a boy *gasp* in primary school was 5 minutes before my first KCPE paper and I was too freaked out to give it a second thought.
Then came high school. An all-girls school, where hugging was actually punishable. Not forgetting that during those four years, **boys were stupid ** until I met those who were the right type of stupid and we really hit it off. I was in one of those schools where we had to uphold the name of the school and before I knew it, I was one of the people handing out punishments. I must say that carrying stripes was an interesting experience!
Anyway, back to the subject at hand ; the art of hugging. You had to have been there to fully understand the concept of the ‘all-girls’ school’. So began the ‘Sweetie’ era. Everyone ( and I do mean everyone ) was sweetie! And the hugging… it was incessant, but it grew on you and you became one of the clones. Smiley, Sweeti-calling, hugging clones.
Then all of a sudden, high school is over. (Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore )
You move from an existence of following rules to making your own.
The number of awkward/ embarrassing moments that I have had because of hugging are not few, but they are distinct enough for me to remember each and everyone of them.
There was the time;
1. I was so stunned, I literally froze on the spot!
2. My face dove into someone’s shirt.
3. I went all matrix ( remember Keannu Reeves & the bullet?)
4. I had that awkward conversation with someone I barely know, who insists I should hug them. ( this has happened more often than you would expect).
Those are the ones that stand out right now.
Anyway, I have come to be open to the idea. There are those pals I’ve known for a long time and now they’re like my brothers. Why shouldn’t I hug my brother?
Not that I’ll go all crazy and hug every Juma, Njoroge and Otieno. Instead, I consider the hug to be somewhat special. ( and I’m kind of sensitive about b.o so…).
In my hug-scapades, I realised that a hug ( as would a handshake ) says a lot about a person. Plus, I’m in search of the perfect hug (NOTE: this is not an invitation to treat nor is it an offer).
( p.s isn’t it irritating when someone insists on lingering on your hand in a handshake ? * shudder* )
*sigh* we grow up so fast …